🏈 NFL could be facing a $21B lawsuit

PLUS: Ozempic Coming to China; Tesla board threatens that Musk will leave Tesla

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TOP STORY
👀 The NFL could be facing a $21 billion lawsuit

📸 Associated Press

Over the past decade, the National Football League (NFL) has been meddling with a class-action lawsuit that threatens to disrupt its longstanding media model.

But for years, it flew under the radar and didn’t get much attention from the league or the average fan. No one actually believed it posed a true danger.

The NFL is an 800-pound gorilla, almost too big to lose, right?

Well, that remained true for a while, up until this past Wednesday, when a new chapter was opened with the start of jury selection in the antitrust case.

Over 2.4 million residential and 48,000 commercial subscribers to NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV believe that the NFL owes them $7 billion, which, under federal law, could even be tripled to $21 billion.

That’s a whole lotta cash; what the hell could the NFL have done?

💬 Treble damages in antitrust cases allow the court to triple the amount of damages the plaintiffs (accusers) suffered to punish wrongdoing and enforce the laws.

📸 Getty Images

The accusers claim that NFL Sunday Ticket drives up prices unfairly and that the price, which starts at $349 per year for DirecTV packages, is ludicrous.

  • If you don’t have YouTubeTV (the new and cheaper way to watch Football), Sunday Ticket will cost you $349 for the season, which increases to $449 if you include RedZone.

  • If you DO have YouTubeTV, which many don’t, it’s $299 per season or $339 per season with RedZone.

And in addition to the cost, and equally upsetting, is that the current model lacks flexible purchasing options.

Fans must buy the entire season package; you can’t pay per game or per month, which would be more affordable and convenient for the average person who doesn’t need to watch every game.

That would make more sense, so what excerpt could change if these rabid fans win?

Sunday Ticket on YouTubeTV

💬 The NFL’s YouTubeTV deal is worth $14 billion over seven years. 

💬 YouTube TV had around 8 million subscribers as of February of this year.

Well, hypothetically, NFL teams would be able to sign their own individual and market-specific out-of-market rights deals, and fans would be able to buy individual games or team-specific packages.

And this wouldn’t be a new model. Other major leagues, like the NBA and MLB, already have team-specific options for their out-of-market game packages. 

  • For example, the NBA League Pass allows fans to subscribe to watch only the games of their favorite team.

  • Similarly, MLB.TV offers a single-team package that lets subscribers follow one team throughout the season. 

But the NFL clearly isn’t interested in this approach, with its NFL Sunday Ticket package requiring fans to purchase access to all out-of-market games.

If this new model were adopted, the NFL would likely offer Sunday Ticket as a premium product for die-hard fans (like ourselves) who can’t fathom not being able to watch every game every Sunday.

The league does have the option to settle (pay the fans a certain amount of money) to avoid a messy trial, but for now, it seems we’re on track to see the NFL's top figures off the field and into a courtroom in So-Cal.

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HEALTHCARE
🇨🇳 Is Ozempic Coming to China?

📸 Reuters

Ozempic might be getting a whole lot cheaper.

Chinese drugmakers have made at least 15 generic versions of Novo Nordisk's diabetes treatment, Ozempic, and weight loss treatment Wegovy.

The Chinese generics are nearing the end of their clinical trials, and if all goes well, it could lead to more accessible diabetes treatments for the entire country and maybe even the world.

China does have a knack for making things more affordable, you know.

💬 A 30-day supply of Ozempic costs $935.77 without insurance in the U.S.

📸 Reuters

But the interesting thing about this story, other than everyone potentially getting the wonder drug for a fraction of the price, is that the drug might not end up coming from Novo.

  • Novo is currently facing a few not-so-simple hurdles in the region, one of which is the patent on “Semaglutide,” a key ingredient in both Wegovy and Ozempic, which expires in China in 2026.

  • Novo is currently in a legal fight over said Semaglutide patent, and if the court rules against Novo, it could lose its exclusivity for the drug there.

  • This would mean that China could become the first primary market where Novo does not have exclusive rights to its own drug.

And while Novo is waiting for patent approval, Chinese competitors are already moving in.

💬 Novo’s semaglutide patent expires in China much sooner than in Japan, Europe, and the U.S.

The current front-runner, Hangzhou Jiuyuan Gene Engineering, has developed a treatment with "similar clinical efficacy and safety" as Ozempic and applied for approval in April.

However, the company still cannot commercialize its version of the drug until Novo's patent expires in 2026.

But realistically, even if Hangzhou’s drug isn’t ready yet if even one Chinese company is already close to duplicating the recipe, there are definitely many more who can do the same.

When asked, a Novo spokesperson said it "welcomes healthy competition" and is awaiting a court decision on its patent case. 

But in reality, there’s no way Novo is not shaking in their big pharma boots.

📈 Novo Nordisk ($NVO) stock is up 477.97% in the past 5 years.

TECHNOLOGY
👋 Tesla board threatens that Musk will leave Tesla

📸 Vox

On June 13th, Tesla’s shareholders will decide whether Elon Musk deserves his ~$56 billion compensation package.

This will be the second time shareholders vote on Musk’s pay after a Delaware judge nullified the first package earlier this year.

Maybe the judge just wants to see Bezos win the billionaire race? Nah, we‘re kidding.

But in all seriousness, Tesla sent shareholders a strange warning that if Musk didn’t get his bag, he might just leave the company.

That would obviously be a crazy scenario, and I don’t know if I truly believe it, but the way Tesla’s board chair, Robyn Denholm, is speaking about the situation is very strange.

Robyn Denholm (📸 Getty Images)

First, Denholm states that Musk needs to be fairly compensated and calls on the shareholders to get it done.

Fine, that checks out. 

But then things got weird…

In a letter to the SEC, Denholm went on to say:

“The typical way in which companies compensate key executives is not going to drive results for Tesla. Motivating someone like Elon requires something different.”

So, not just money?

But wait — shouldn’t the potential to change the world at Tesla, which he’s already done, be “motivation” enough to stay?

I guess not, with Denholm saying, “One thing Elon most certainly does not have is unlimited time. Nor does he face any shortage of ideas and other places he can make an incredible difference in the world. We want those ideas, that energy, and that time to be at Tesla, but that requires reciprocal respect.”

And yet…

Approving the $56 billion pay package, which would make Musk the highest-paid CEO ever, is “not about the money,” Denholm insists.

This is confusing as hell and honestly doesn’t make much sense.

But we think we might’ve figured it out: It seems that this is really all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T, which, to Elon, means 56 billion buckaroos.

📉 Tesla ($TSLA) stock is down 28.56% this year.